If you're in the market to replace a hot water tank in your business or home, you may be looking at alternatives, figuring out the best option and making sure that you get good value for your money. If this is the first time that you have done this, you may not be aware of a crucial and "sacrificial" element that needs to be placed within the tank if you're going to get true value. What do you need to know, so that you make the right choices?
Why Anodes Are Important
Without anode rods, your virgin water heater would deteriorate into a sorry mess within the matter of only a few months, as these magnesium or aluminium components sacrifice themselves so that the steel water heater doesn't literally rust away to nothing. Their efficiency is based on a principle of science that says that the most reactive of any two metals in contact with water will corrode away first, before the second metal begins to deteriorate. Both magnesium and aluminium are much more reactive than the steel that forms the basis of the tank, so these components are used to get the most life out of the container.
Some tanks come complete with a sacrificial anode, while others feature a removable version and yet others can be powered by electricity. In the first case, a combination anode is part of the hot water delivery system and reaches into the tank through the hot water connection. Alternatively, you can pick a "hex head" anode that screws into the top of the tank and reaches down into the water. You should check this particular type of anode every few months to see if it is still efficient and replace it as needed.
Many people are now choosing to get the powered option. This differs from the others insofar as it releases a tiny flow of electricity into the water itself, to make sure that the electrochemical reaction that causes rust is slowed down considerably. These anodes work very well in areas where the water is very soft and will also kill off bacteria that might otherwise infect the tank and affect the quality.
Most experts believe that magnesium anodes are a better solution as they don't leave behind any unpleasant sediment, the scourge of the aluminium anode.
Making the Right Choice
Have a word with your supplier to make sure that you get the right type of sacrificial anode for your new water tank, to maximise your investment.